REEL Ladies chats with Stunt Coordinator Melissa Stubbs!
If it is possible to be born for a particular profession then Melissa Stubbs clearly was…
Born and raised Vancouver, Canada by british immigrant parents, her mother recalls that “..at the age of six months she worked out that if she banged hard enough and long enough on her crib then she could unlatch the side and reach her destination – our bed.” This determination would help when she embarked on a career which, even for the most accomplished performer, can involve injuries or evenworse, death. Melissa admits to watching “way too much TV” as a child and her favorite shows like Charlie’s Angels and Bionic Woman were action-packed and starred strong, physically adept female leads.
Determined to become a stunt performer at 17, she began showing up wherever there was a TV show or movie being made in the Lower Mainland of Vancouver, BC – regardless of time of day or weather. She would simply turn up and offer to help the stunts team or to find work as an extra Betty Thomas, a pioneer BC stunt woman, now an owner of ThomasFX Group and a director/producer recalls, ” She was always turning up on set and I used to wonder, ‘isn’t this girl going to leave us alone?’ She had a mission and wasn’t going to give up no matter what. I admired her tenacity, and knew that she was going to succeed.”
The long nights and dawn expeditions to movie locations paid off. It wasn’t long before she landed her first stunt job. She was to double for actress Kelly Hu in the B-Movie classic Friday the 13th. Part 8. Her perfectionism and rigorous schedule of training which includes working out, kick boxing, pounding up the Grouse Grind, horse riding, jetskiing and motorcross, are essential in keeping her body ready to take the knocks. Melissa was confident she had the physical abilities and hard knuckled determination but also realized she needed to excel at particular skills. So early on she learned to drive like a stunt performer and she sunk her money into buying expensive equipment to train on.
Her investment paid off. She became the only stunt woman capable of doing particular stunts. Teamed up with colleague and friend Mike “Mitch” Mitchell, together they formed M&M Stunt Rentals and M&M Studio Services which grew faster than they expected. Her ambition to become a stunt woman spawned the company, not a desire to make money.
“I am what I do,” says Melissa and she couldn’t be more content. Melissa has gone on to work on films such as Final Destination, Along Came a Spider, The Last Samurai, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Shooter, Indiana Jones & the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and MORE! VIEW IMDB PAGE HERE
LISTEN LIVE to Melissa’s journey on our FEATURED Talk show!
Monday, Feb 16, 2009
Listeners can call in and ask Melissa questions!